A recap of the winter league action for the last three days. Still only two leagues in action, so the news has been slow. The Dominican League begins on Thursday. Puerto Rico starts up one week later, then Australia and Colombia both start in November.

Wednesday

In Venezuela, Jose Osuna went 0-for-4 with his first strikeout (took 21 plate appearances).

Elvis Escobar went 3-for-5, including an eighth inning RBI triple in his team’s 5-4 win.

Julio Vivas pitched the ninth inning of his team’s 3-2 loss. He walked the lead-off batter, then got a double play and an infield pop out to end the inning.

Thursday

In Venezuela, Jhondaniel Medina had a tough outing, allowing a single and then an intentional walk to the only two batters he faced before being removed. Both runners would come around to score.

Jose Osuna went 2-for-4 with two singles and a walk, scoring two runs.

Elvis Escobar went 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored. He stole his second base of the season.

In Mexico, Luis Heredia made his season debut and it did not go well. Coming on to start the bottom of the seventh inning, he allowed three consecutive singles before recording his only out. One run scored while he was on the mound, and a two-run single with two outs scored the other runners, giving him an unsightly 81.00 ERA. Heredia threw just 11 pitches.

Carlos Munoz went 1-for-4 with an RBI single. He was not in the Opening Day lineup on Tuesday.

Friday

In Venezuela, Jose Osuna went 1-for-3 with a single and a HBP. Through seven games, he is hitting .280/.400/.400 in 25 at-bats.

Elvis Escobar went 1-for-5 with a double and a run scored. He is hitting .400/.400/.520 through 25 at-bats. While he played a total of 25 games last winter, they were almost all off the bench, and he had just 20 plate appearances.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz was used as a pinch-hitter and he was hit by a pitch.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Is there a chance Escobar is a top 30 prospect in 2017? He seems to continue trending in the right direction and could end up in Indianapolis at some point in 2017. Is he now projecting to have the upside of a major league starter (albeit a different system’s outfield)?

    • I would say it’s possible he’s a top 30 prospect sometime next year. He has the tools to be a solid player, with line drive/gap power, speed and a strong arm. He can make mistakes on the field at times, but he just turned 22 last month, so that’s a strong age for someone who already has AA experience going into the season.

      He is my dark horse for being protected in the Rule 5 draft. He is someone who could be used off the bench enough for a team to keep him around, plus he is trending upwards, so there is potential for a solid outfielder if he can get rid of the rough edges to his game.

      It’s not huge upside at this point because he doesn’t walk enough, or have plus power/speed, but I think he could be someone who ends up as a fourth outfielder and adds some value. I’ve seen him look very impressive at times.

      • Thanks for the additional info and opinion. The dark horse prospects are always the most fun. Who’s next to develop into a prospect or emerge…that’s what intrigues me the most.

  2. John, refresh my memory, how do the Winter Leagues in DR, Venezuela, Columbia, and Mexico compare talent wise to minor leagues?

    • The Dominican is the best, and it starts out around AAA talent, and then gets better as the season goes along. I’ve seen lineups there with nine players who had recent MLB experience. Most of the players have at least AAA time.

      Venezuela is basically strong AA, and some teams would be like facing AAA squads. Mexico is the same as Venezuela.

      Puerto Rico is like a weak AA league. You’ll get occasional MLB players, but it’s mostly AA/AAA guys, with some lower level players mixed in.

      Colombia and Australia are like High-A ball, with Australia being the better of the two leagues as far as talent, but Colombia is more offense, while Australia is usually low scoring games.

      Then there are leagues in Nicaragua, Panama and another in Mexico called the Veracruz league. Those would be like rookie ball, something like the Appalachian League

      • Nice rundown John.
        This may be an unfair question or one you might consider not even answering, but I have noted more players from Venezuela than I thought to be MLB guys. Would it seem Cervelli could/would reach out to recruit any FA pitchers for the next season? One who comes to mind is J Chacin.

        • I can’t speak specifically about Cervelli, but I’ve heard of plenty of players recruiting others from their own country. It also works with former teammates, current winter teammates and players who have the same agent, so I wouldn’t say country would be the biggest factor to get another player.

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